Calliope’s Jessica Cullen is one of an increasing number of young adults across the nation still living at home with their parents.
Calliope’s Jessica Cullen is one of an increasing number of young adults across the nation still living at home with their parents.

No place like home for kids

AN INCREASING number of young adults are reluctant to fly the coop - preferring to feather their nest in the family home.

Rising living costs and a huge increase in rental prices across the Gladstone region is forcing many to forego early independence and remain living with their parents.

Jessica Cullen, from River Ranch at Calliope, is one young person in this situation, with the 18-year-old professional communication trainee still living at home with her parents Diane and James (Jim) and 15-year-old brother Bill.

She is one of a growing number of young Australian adults who have delayed the process of moving out of home once finishing high school and she is more than content with her decision to stay put.

"Home is a good spot for me right now," Jessica said.

According to statistics provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the proportion of young adults living in the parental home, particularly in the 20-24 years age group, has increased since the 1980s.

About 49% of men and 45% of women aged between 18 and 24 are delaying the move to establish residential independence from their parents and instead are living under their roof.

And it doesn't stop there with about 14% of people aged between 25 and 34 having never left home.

Men are the biggest offenders with statistics showing they are more likely to be living in the parental home than the fairer sex.

The financial pressures of living elsewhere, rising cost of living, convenience, enjoyment of living at home and the prolonging of settling down in a serious relationship are all contributors to this growing trend.

It seems more and more young adults are looking for a cost-effective solution to saving money when it comes to accommodation, which is allowing them to enjoy a more luxurious lifestyle.

Many parents are carrying the financial burden of their children to later in life, as mums and dads across the nation continue to foot the bill for electricity, cable television, telephone, internet and groceries, and in some cases, tertiary education and other expenses.

This situation can have a detrimental effect on parents who should be focusing on building a handy retirement nest egg and possibly downsizing the family home.

And with recent trends indicating men and women are settling down later in life, the good (or bad) news is that many parents may be facing the possibility of their adult children living with them longer than initially expected.


Parents pick up slack

Two years ago Jessica Cullen had plans to leave home after high school and move to New South Wales to study and live with her pop.

But the daunting realisation she couldn't afford such a move resulted in the 18-year-old from Calliope creating a new plan of attack.

Jessica has now entered the workforce, undertaking a six-year traineeship which she juggles with university study, and has remained in the comfort and security of living at home with her parents.

It's a good deal, which means she has to pay minimal board and in return is not required to do much.

Paying $50 board a week to her parents, Jessica said it helped her to save.

Jessica said she had been able to go halves with her parents in buying a car, had gone on a holiday to New Zealand earlier this year and was now looking at visiting Bali next year.

"I am meant to cook once a week, unpack the dishwasher and iron my own uniform," Jessica said.

"I stretch the relationship sometimes with mum because she does a lot of the running around, cooking and cleaning.

"I try to be independent and pay for myself - my car registration and insurance and phone bill."

Despite being in a steady relationship Jessica admits home is a good spot for her right now.

However she said sometimes it was difficult for her parents to understand she wanted to spend the weekend away from home with her friends.

"I am glad I have a good enough relationship with my parents to be living at home," Jessica said.

"I am thankful they still allow me to live here."


'Failure to launch' doesn't bother mum

Diane Cullen is the first to admit she loves the fact that Jessica is still living at home.

Mrs Cullen said it was hard enough for young adults to move out, especially in the Gladstone region.

"We always said when she got a permanent job she would have to pay board," Mrs Cullen said.

"Fifty dollars a week is not much in the real world but it is a stepping stone."

Both Mrs Cullen and her husband Jim gave Jessica the freedom to leave home when she thought she was ready.

"Both of us were the youngest in our families and stayed at home until we got married," Mrs Cullen said.

"I was 19 and my husband was 20."

Joking that her daughter would never move out, Mrs Cullen said her 15-year-old son Bill was also planning on staying near home by building a house on their block at River Ranch, Calliope.

Mrs Cullen said both her children enjoyed the freedom of coming home.

"It gives them that break and over the years they have grown used to that," Mrs Cullen said.

Mrs Cullen said although her daughter did not do much in the way of helping with household chores she did give her credit for pitching in when needed.

"If I ask Jess for anything she will do it," Mrs Cullen said.

"I started work full-time this year so I implemented that the kids cook one night each during the week."


Staying put:

  • More adult children are living in the family home longer nowadays than in the 1980s.
  • In some Australian suburbs the percentage of young adults living at home is as high as 71%.
  • In 2001, 59% of Australian youth (aged 15-24 years) lived in the parental home.
  • In 2006, 23% of young adults aged between 20 and 34 were living with their parents compared to 19% in 1986.
  • About 14% of people aged 25-34 years have never left home.
  • Young males than females are more likely to be living in the parental home.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth are more likely to be living outside of the parental home than all youth (43% compared with 31%, respectively).
  • Overseas-born youth from non-main English speaking countries are less likely to be living with family members (72%).

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